Cubed3 spoke to Claire Fontenot, marketing and PR for DarkSeas Games, on the upcoming Road Redemption project and plans for the Nintendo Wii U version.
Cubed3: Please tell us about DarkSeas Games and your team
Right now the team consists of five core individuals with five others working as satellite employees, filling in where needed. We are hoping to expand the team as we reach our Kickstarter stretch goals.
All of our team members share a mutual respect for retro game development, and games as an art form. You might call it mutual reverence. We rallied around the idea of recreating a classic game that fans would enjoy, and using Kickstarter as a means to develop the game independently. We consider Road Redemption to be a game for the fans, by the fans.
Cubed3: What titles have you worked on previously?
Members of our team have worked on God of War Ascension, Commandos, NBA 2K 10, 11, and 12, Epic Mickey, God of War, Big Range Hunting, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and Tabula Rasa, just to name a few.
Cubed3: Road Redemption looks like a fantastic throwback to classic games, please tell us a little bit more about the concept.
Road Redemption is a game that we've wanted to play for years now. We're all huge fans of the Road Rash series, particularly the iterations on Genesis/Megadrive, 3DO, and N64.
Other games that have influenced us are the Burnout series, Skitchin, Rocket Jockey, and the classic Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Terminator 2.
We think that the series could most be improved simply by incorporating all of the technological advances of the last decade. We're integrating bigger tracks, more realistic physics, riders and far better AI. We think the melee combat shouldn't stray far from the retro formula, but should take advantage of modern animation tools and systems like those found in Unity 4.
Cubed3: What elements of the classic Road Rash series have helped influence Road Redemption?
Elements of the classic Road Rash series will be very important in recreating the spirit of the game. Things navigating traffic, interacting with the environment, managing inclines/declines, and an emphasis on melee weapons and up-close combat over projectile weapons, for example.
One of our employees wrote this Gamasutra article back in 2009 explaining why the Road Rash series is so great.
Cubed3: It's great that the project is driving onto Nintendo Wii U - will there be any specific GamePad/touch screen mechanics?
Off-TV GamePad play seems like the most obvious for us, but we're going to have to look into any difficulties involved there.
We're also big fans of asymmetrical gameplay, so we might be able to do something there. The idea of one person controlling a rider while another acts as a deity, controlling traffic, has been suggested.
Our first priority for the Nintendo Wii U is going to be on multi-screen multiplayer.
Cubed3: How about motion control, for example aiming with the GamePad screen or steering?
We think motion control is a perfect fit for Road Redemption; obviously using the accelerometer to control steering, but also using Wii remote to swing your bat or chain at other bikers.
Cubed3: Why did you choose the Wii U over Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 for example?
There are a lot of pros for going with the Wii U including their devoted fanbase with a thirst for more hardcore games, and the console's potential for growth as more games become available. What really set us over the edge is how Nintendo has extended an olive branch to indie developers with its relatively low barriers to entry and its support of the Unity 4 engine. Since we are already developing with Unity 4, we feel that the benefit of bringing this game to more fans outweighed the additional costs of development.
The demand for an Xbox 360 port was high amongst backers, so we've have announced a stretch goal of $178,000 for it.
Knowing what we know about Sony's commitment to indie developers, we are also interested in and are still discussing the possibility of a PlayStation port.
Cubed3: Why the decision to not include an auto-aim feature for gun play or close-range combat?
Guns are only being made available to add another dimension to the player's combat options. Auto-aim is a crutch that robs the player of the satisfaction of mastering a weapon. We also feel that auto-aim would encourage players to go for the easy kill instead of getting into the melee battles that are at the core of this style of game.
Cubed3: Are the vehicles in Road Redemption based on licensed vehicles that are already on the road?
Vehicles are inspired by both real world bikes as well as concepts and fan favorites.
Cubed3: It's great to see various different mission types on offer - which would be the highlights for Road Redemption?
The best part about building this game with a community is that everyone has their own opinion about what the highlight is. As far as our announced missions go, I'm partial to the roof-top race mission because of the sheer brutal absurdity of kicking a mounted enemy off the roof of a skyscraper.
We've also received some incredible suggestions from backers and fans, but I won't spoil the surprise. I think it's really going to get interesting when we release the source, and the community fanbase starts adding levels and missions.
Cubed3: What online features will be available in Road Redemption?
There will be built-in matchmaking and dedicated servers. You will also be able to form a gang with your friends which will allows you to easily find each other online and join the same servers.
We look forward to seeing Road Redemption gangs forming online, with their own unique gang insignia.
Online features also extend to the single player campaign. You can compete with your friends, via online leaderboards, to prove that you are the most skilled combatant.
Cubed3: What would be your ideal role model/inspiration in the development world?
We could give you a long list of developers that have inspired us over the years, but in the context of this project we would really like to give a nod to Dan Geisler, Co-creator of Road Rash 1, 2, and 3. Dan has gone above and beyond in his support for our project, and we owe him a lot for that.
Cubed3: What has it been like working with Nintendo and the Unity Framework so far?
We are no strangers to working with Unity, and we really appreciate the steps Nintendo has taken to become more indie friendly. We really have no complaints so far.
Cubed3: Are there any plans to bring the game to other platforms like Nintendo 3DS?
No plans as of now. All in all, we are just really eager to get Road Redemption to the players who are making the Windows, Mac, Linux, and Wii U versions (and possibly XBox 360 and Oculus Rift versions) possible.